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Older women have been recognised as the fastest-growing group of homeless people in Australia. Future-proofing your finances means you won’t be at risk of financial hardship as you age.
By Julie Nipperess.
In recent years, various social studies around homelessness in Australia have pointed out an alarming fact: Women over 45 are the fastest-growing group of homeless people in Australia.
There are many reasons why, including higher divorce rates, the gender pay gap, the fact that many women take time out from their careers to raise children, then return to work part-time for the same reason…
It’s also a fact that women’s salaries peak sometime in their 30s … and women retire with almost 40% percent less super than men.
Of course, housing and other living expenses like food and electricity are becoming much more expensive too. Women also tend to spend more generally – on clothes, shoes, accessories and personal grooming etc etc etc!
That’s a bleak picture. And one that doesn’t sit well with me at all, mostly because I know that women can change this potential outcome if they make a decision to do so.
It all comes down to understanding your money, and getting professional financial advice about how to manage it wisely.
A personal budget (you can access our free budget worksheet here) will help you detail your day-to-day expenses, which is important, because what you know, you can control. If your expenses are more than your income, then you know for sure that needs to be reversed!
But when it comes to making bigger decisions, about your super, investments or purchasing property, it’s wise to get financial advice, because a financial planner or money coach will see opportunities that perhaps you can’t, or potential risks you might not have considered.
In terms of superannuation, most people just stick to their industry funds, not realising there are other options, many of which will most likely result in a better return with active management and regular ‘top ups’ in line with legislation.
Remember that there is more to setting yourself up for a secure financial future than just investments and superannuation.
It’s about having the right insurance in place too, in case you lose your job, or can’t work for a period of time because of an accident or injury. Insurance is often overlooked or dismissed, and this can be a huge mistake.
By and large Australians are under-insured or inadequately insured. In both cases this means they’re paying big bucks for generic ‘one-size-fits-all’ policies that offer paltry inadequate payouts when the time comes.
Don’t squander your hard earned money and then keep your fingers crossed that everything will be ok… Take time to go over your policies with a professional and get advice about tailored insurance that suits your personal circumstances.
Buying property can be daunting, and it’s a complex process, but don’t let this put you off. Right now is an ideal time to be borrowing money (so long as you can afford to) because credit rules are relaxing and interest rates are low.
But there’s also another good reason to consider buying property before you reach your mid-40s and early 50s and that’s because it can be more difficult to obtain a mortgage after that.
Most mortgages are calculated on a 30-year payback term, and after you hit middle-age it’s not impossible to get a mortgage, but the banks often require a lot more checks and balances.
Of course, the good thing about owning property is that you have an asset you can rent out, or sell, or use as collateral to borrow money. At the very least, when you own property, you will always have a roof over your head.
This is general advice and should not be treated as personal advice. Julie Nipperess is an authorised representative of Step Up Financial Group Pty Ltd ASFL No: 512509.